Hopefully you have had the chance to take a look at GooglePlus. Amidst all the hype and crazy-ness that surrounds Google’s new social product, some people seem to be mistaken by what the tool is. I’ve had a Google Plus account for a little while now and have had the chance to put it through it’s paces to understand it. I’ve noticed really powerful tools within Google Plus that can be useful for entrepreneurs, bloggers and anyone who likes to be public-ly social (I’ll tell you what this really is).
What is Google+?
Google Plus really is a mix Facebook and Twitter. When you first get access to it, you’ll notice that the Circles feature allows you to categorize your connections to meaningful groups. I recommend everyone to set this up well as it will define your activity on Google Plus.
You’re given default Circles however, you can create new ones. With Circles, you can push messages out only to the people who you intend it to go to and if you want to share it with everyone, just mark the update as ‘Public’. This way, you can stick to sharing stuff only with your friends the Facebook way or share public-ly the Twitter way.
You can send messages out just as text, images, links or even location. Choose whom you want the update to go to and boom.
Google+: What It’s Not
Twitter on the other side may have issues. Plus has a ‘Follow’ feature similar to Twitter that’s really powerful. All public messages you send on Plus can be seen by anyone who is following you. This content isn’t limited to 140 characters as well. Some may argue that Twitter’s structure and install base will still keep it going however, if Google decides to implement some of Twitter’s functionality – hash tags, public URLs to profiles and pages for businesses / organizations, Twitter would definitely rethink it’s network.
Then there’s location based updates. What happens to your favorite location based app? At least until Google integrates with Places and it’s new deals service, you can stick to using your current location application. Facebook and Twitter aside, let’s discuss some features that can be really powerful for entrepreneurs.
I’ve already mentioned what Circles does. I have Circles setup for different purposes so I can send out messages to targeted people. Circles also allow you to see all new messages from that Circle. Think of this as Twitter’s List feature. Setup a Circle to follow interesting people in your industry and check that Circle often to know what they’re doing. Powerful.
You really don’t need uStream if you’re using Google Plus Hangout. You can create a Hangout, make it public and begin video chatting with everyone. It still needs some refinement in that you can’t control whether audiences can also speak or for that matter, how many people can Hangout with you. It’s a good place to quickly and personally interact with your followers and also Hangout with other industry leaders.
This is probably one of the most interesting new features. It allows
you to setup interests and sends you news related to that. A great place to follow industry news that you wouldn’t otherwise learn about. Does a good job for now. I found a lot of interesting articles from blogs which I don’t follow otherwise.
What Google Plus Can Be
If Google works as hard as it has with Plus and continues to add functionality to it, it can definitely become the de-facto network for people. Whether you trust Google to handle all social activity is something I’d like to learn in the comments section. However, privacy issues aside, it’s fair to say that Google is back in the social game.
PS: I can’t give out invites yet since Google has stopped issuing new invites. Leave your email in the comments section and I’ll send them to you when they are available. If you are on Google Plus, you can find me by searching for my name, Nagarjun Palavalli. Or, follow me on Twitter at @palavalli and let me know that you need an invite.
[Guest article by Nagarjun Palavalli, founder of Eduora.com.]